Testing the model

Begins 2:34pm

Katz and Fodor object to a theory of settings that embraces complexity because “it would be required that the theory represents all the knowledge speakers have about the world” (p110).  But Eco points out that it is not necessary to list all possible occurrences only those that are culturally and conventionally statistically possible. There is a certain amount of common sense in language and its cultural meaning.  When speaking about alligator shoes, for example, the semantic property of shoes would suggest they are worn by humans. Therefore the perplexity that Katz and Fodor show over the expression /our store sells alligator shoes/ is shown to have only one ‘correct’ solution: shoes worn by humans made from alligator skin.

[OS So strange how we use examples of our dominion over animals so flippantly.  The use of of animals for our pleasure is so common that we just slide over it]

It is “always” possible to isolate a cultural framework where some conventional and circumstantial selections are coded (p112).  So for example, an image of a skull if placed on a bottle would mean poison and if placed on an electrical pylon means high voltage.

A <whale> can have many readings depending on the contextual settings.  These may be contradictory and require a choice between ‘an array of non-coordinated connotations’.  (p114) Whether a whale is to be considered fish or mammal will depend on the context:  scientific, medieval or contemporary.  There is also a componential spectrum that allows for varied readings.

Eco’s revised model ‘even’ allows for the semiotic representations of non-verbal signs including the previous example of <skull> as well as red flag, which if used in a political context connotes communism, if seen on a road would mean caution and on a railroad would mean stop.

Eco’s revised model allows for the disambiguation of many verbal, non-verbal and iconic signs through the theory of settings: their context and composition.

[SS Your heart’s not in it today.  That’s all I am going to say.]

Ends 3:29pm

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